CC Education Program Expands Horizons
The Camden Conference and certainly the Education Committee believe that an important part of our mission is to help prepare the Maine students of today to be global citizens of tomorrow. We are committed to the participation of college and high school students at the Conference. The 2018 Camden Conference on New World Disorder attendance of over 200 students and teachers came close to the record attendance of the 2017 Conference on global migration. From reports from students and their teachers in the colleges and high schools which attended at the Strand, the Hutch, and the Opera House, this was a most successful Conference.
College students attended mainly at the Opera House location. This year the participating schools were: University of Maine at Farmington, University of Maine at Orono, University of Maine at Augusta/University at Rockland, University of Southern Maine, University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA), University of Maine Law School (Portland), University of New England, and St. Thomas College. On Saturday night, SPIA organized the World Cafe, which this year involved a simulation of a Model UN type agreement on Climate Change. Participants, which included high school students, college students, and other Conference attendees, debated and the results were fed into a climate change model which demonstrated the results of sea levels changes based on their agreement.
The high school program is known as the Camden Conference in the Classroom (CCC) and has grown exponentially in the past few years. Eleven schools attended the Conference as official CCC schools at the Strand Theatre. Participating high schools included: CCC Schools: Camden Hills Regional High School, Deering High School (Portland), Edward Little High School (Auburn), Foxcroft Academy (Dover Foxcroft), Gould Academy (Bethel), Lincoln Academy (Newcastle), Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (Hinckley), Medomak Valley High School (Waldoboro), Piscataquis Community High School (Guilford), Portland High School, and Watershed School (Camden). Also attending at the Hutch: George Stevens Academy (Blue Hill), Vinalhaven School, both of which plan to join as regular CCC schools for 2019. On Saturday of the Conference, the high school students gather for lunch at Trackside restaurant in Rockland, giving them a chance to socialize and discuss what they’ve seen so far at the Conference.
Any student who attends the Conference is eligible to enter the Bill Taylor Essay contest. Most college and high school courses on the Conference theme run through June, so the papers are due by May 25. Once chosen, winners will be announced on our website.
The spring workshop for the CCC teachers was held in early April. The teachers shared ideas and resources among each other to prepare for the 2019 topic of China. One teacher offered to visit interested schools, accompanied by a colleague from China, to discuss the difference in school programs between China and Maine. Students could ask questions in an informal setting. The Farnsworth Art Museum offered the teachers the opportunity to view dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s show, which will be available through December 2018. The Farnsworth also offered to work with any CCC school next year who wanted to bring students or offer a wider program of art in the classroom.
The Education Committee of the Camden Conference is currently working on a 5-year-plan for the CCC program, which will hopefully expand the program. The students that have attended the Conference since the CCCs inception in 2015 have described the experience in glowing terms:
“This year’s Camden Conference gave me wonderful insights on today’s foreign relations and the world around me. I decided to join this program for a few reasons. One reason was that my sister went her junior year to the Camden Conference and told me how spectacular it was, but my main reason for wanting to attend the conference this year is because of my own personal story. I was adopted from China at a very young age, and I don’t know that much about where I came from or how the nation I came from is viewed. When I found out there was a panel on China’s foreign policy I was very intrigued and it was one of my favorite speakers at the conference…My biggest takeaway from the conference is that we need to do more and it is up to the people to get the ball rolling on important social, political, and economic issues. People often sit around and complain when something that they believe is wrong happens, but if we all work collectively to get the facts right and act, we can change something.” -Edward Little High School student
“If you want to have real change in the real world, you will have to participate in politics.”-Gould Academy student
“The conference overall was very informative and engaging. The superb selection of speakers took a large, abstract topic (New World Disorder) and effectively relayed it to the audience with […] narrow, tangible points and perspectives. To the conference and event organizers, I would like to mention that numerous colleges have looked favorably on my attendance at the conference. The opportunity to send high school students to such an important event is incalculably valuable, and we are very grateful to have it.”-Piscataquis Community High School student